“Never commit suicide—always make them kill you.”*
-Dave Sim (referring to self publishing)
A few months ago, I ordered myself a Pelikan fountain pen. I had been wanting one for a while now, but couldn’t bring myself to spend the $100+ it would cost, but in one of those moments of thinking “my artwork stinks, and the tools that I am using MUST be the problem”, I broke down and ordered one. It took me a while to find an ink that was black, yet wouldn’t clog the pen, until I settled with the rapidograph black ink. With my other pens, I would dip them in Speedball Super Black ink, which I find a decent, black ink, but it’s just too thick for fountain pens. (It worked for a while, but started to clog, and before using the pen I’d have to empty it out and refill it everytime, which stopped me from being productive at those times when I don’t have time to sit down and draw properly, but I happen to be passing by and see my unfinished comic page and decide to ink for 5 minutes just to get a few lines drawn, or get a small panel inked, which really ads up in the long run). I know that Sergio Aragones uses Badger brand non-acrylic black ink for his Pelikan Pen, but I couldn’t even find that ink on the internet, or anywhere for that matter…….. does it still exist?
I must say, I’m really happy that I picked up one of these pens, as the nib is more flexible than the Rotring art pens that I’ve been using, so you get a bit more of a thick and thin line out of it (and that’s something that I feel I need to work on a bit more with my artwork). The fact that it’s (for the most part) maintenance free helps because I very rarely have a full day to sit down and draw comics, so it’s quick and easy to just pick it up and start inking (now that I’ve found a decent ink).
I’m still experimenting and looking for a good mix of weapons for my comic making adventures, and trying to figure out what tool works best for what part of the drawing. I’ve experimented a bit with brush and ink (see the missile smoke/fire on the previous photo above) and I really like the possibilities with that, but I’m nowhere near confident enough with a brush to try inking characters and such, but it is something that I’m going to work on. (man, there’s a lot to learn still…..) What tools do you guys use? What kind of paper/illustration board? What’s your favorite ink, and why? For myself, I’m still experimenting, but maybe that’s a career long task.